Deducting work clothing, or not?

Ask NJMoneyHelp

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Q. I’ve just started working for an escort service to make money to pay for college. For my job, I need to have nice clothes, make-up, manicures and stuff like that. Are those expenses all deductible? I’m an independent contractor and not an employee.
— Working

A. The rules about what expenses can be deducted are very strict, so we’re glad you asked.

In order for those personal items to be tax deductible, they cannot be suitable for everyday use, even if they weren’t worn for everyday use, said Gail Rosen, a certified public accountant with Wilkin & Guttenplan in Martinsville.

Rosen provided an good example of this law from the tax court back in 1997 in a case involving Don Teschner, a member of Rod Stewart’s band.

“Don attempted to deduct various items of stage clothing including leather pants, silk boxers, men’s underwear, hats and a vest,” Rosen said. “The majority of these items were rejected by the tax court because they could easily be suitable for general wear, even if it wasn’t worn personally.”

Rosen said there were a few items that the court allowed as a tax deduction because they were deemed too flashy for everyday use.

We’re guessing most of your items could be worn or used every day, therefore, the deductions wouldn’t be allowed.

Here’s more from the IRS on what can and cannot be deducted.

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